Why Physicians should never use public Wi-Fi

We all enjoy the convenience of being somewhere, like a coffee shop, airport, hotel room, or lobby of a building waiting, and hopping on the free Wi-Fi to catch up on some work. Unfortunately, all healthcare workers should avoid free Wi-Fi at all costs.  It is very important to realize that if you can access the free Wi-Fi, so can anyone else. They can even leave devices behind that stay on the Wi-Fi, breach other systems and transmit the data back to their "home" base.  If you share a local Wi-Fi network, it is fairly easy for someone to access your device (laptop, tablet, phone) and copy data from your device to theirs without you ever knowing it.  It's worth noting that criminals can infect your device with a virus or malware and later take control or steal data from your device.

There are several things you can do to prevent a breach ...

  1. Don't connect to free Wi-Fi networks.
    1. Use your mobile phone hotspot or wait until you're on a known secure network.
  2. If you do use free Wi-Fi or connect remotely to your EMR or other applications use a VPN (virtual private network).
  3. Make sure you have a properly configured firewall on your device and select "public" network when you connect.
  4. Encrypt the data on your device.
  5. Did I say, "Don't use free Wi-Fi networks."?
  6. Don't download, access, or store PHI on mobile devices.

Their are various ways to address the above list, contact your tech expert for assistance and make it a high priority.

Take away:  Make cyber security a top priority for 2017, take a step each week to improve your cyber security.

Robert Felps
About the Author

Innovative problem solver. Robert Felps takes a holistic view of the situation, understanding the business objectives, then architects a solution that exceeds the expectations for much less than standard industry solutions would cost.

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